Syria: Why Are We Doing So Little to Prevent Mass Killing?

People killed by a chemical attack in Ghouta last week.

— by Steve Sheffey

Civilians are being gassed to death in Syria, but what precisely should we do? No one seems to know. Should we bomb Syria? Should we invade? (Would you want your children to fight in Syria?) And yet how can we stand by — not just now, but during the past year — when so many have been murdered? The Obama administration is considering options, but we really have no good options.

The immediate question is what can we do about Syria, but the real question is why historically has the United States done so little to prevent mass killing, and whether there really a spirit in America to do more.

Courtesy of The Cartoon Kronicles @

In their book FDR and the Jews, Richard Breitman and Allan J. Lichtman remind us that:

Woodrow Wilson, a true idealist, virtually ignored Turkey’s slaughter of a million or more Armenians, while Jimmy Carter, a human rights crusader, did nothing to prevent Pol Pot from exterminating 20 percent of Cambodia’s population. The Clinton administration took several years to respond militarily to the “ethnic cleansing” of Muslims in Bosnia, which required only air power, not soldiers on the ground, and it never confronted the mass killings in Rwanda. More recently, Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama employed little more than words to condemn the atrocities in Darfur. Historically speaking, [Franklin] Roosevelt [who did not do enough to save the Jews, but did more than any other world leader] comes off rather well.  

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